Release Date: Jun 10, 2014
Record label: Rocket Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Lay Llamas is Nicola Giunta and Gioele Valenti, a duo who label their sound as 'afro-space-psych', according to the group's Facebook page. When I hear a band add in the word 'space' to their defining sound, what I expect is whistling abnormalities, creeping white-noise, and hidden vocal melodies offering up delicate hooks.
Ignore the ominously hippified title of Ostro’s opening track, ‘Ancient People Of The Stars’; Lay Llamas are more than your standard wah wah pedal toting, one-rhythm-knowing psych-heads. Though the Italian duo are undoubtedly up for some third-eye opening, like most who sign to Rocket Recordings, they’re brilliantly varied in how they go about it. The seven-minute ‘We Are You’ is a well-worked contrast of sweeping drones and short, sharp electronics; ‘Desert Of Lost Souls’ starts off evoking the Arabic sands but ends up travelling the cosmos with its spacious sound and ’70s synths.
'It came from a dream of mine. A weird guy I’d never seen before says to me: "Your album title will be Ostro!’” recalls Nicola Giunta, one half of Sicilian shamanic psych duo, Lay Llamas. A few days after the dream, the lead vocalist realised that he had heard the word from fisherman in the ancient Greek city of Selinunte, his hometown. It turns out the album takes its name from a travelling wind that blows across the Mediterranean sea, from Africa, north towards Sicily.
It is no surprise to find that Lay Llamas and Goat both found a home on Rocket Recordings. Both bands occupy a similar kind of sonic headspace, that of the psychedelic electric shaman, and both appear to be in thrall to the charms of a certain style of mammal. Perhaps the only shock is that Rocket has yet to sign a band called the Vibrant Camelids or the Electric Alpaca Society, such is their propensity for such creatures.
Initially one might question the necessity of another band with a silly name, fluorescent album art and descriptions like "afrofunk-space-psych". Indeed, with the recent popularity of bands like Hookworms, Lumerians, and Goat along with the purported conception Psych Fests in Llandudno and Market Harborough, serious music fans have began to express the need to categorise and define "real psychedelic music". Of course they needn't really bother; some people may find the boorish garage of The Electric Prunes just as mindblowing as Oren Ambarchi.In this sense, Ostro definitely works to a degree.